One of the main areas of the Arizona Cardinals roster that will need management’s attention next year is the defensive line
After a disheartening beginning to the 2019 campaign, the Arizona Cardinals have begun to show signs of life. Kliff Kingsbury‘s crew, with six contests now in the books, find themselves just a game under the .500 mark. In fact, the Cards have a decent chance of reaching that plateau when they face the underwhelming New York Giants this coming weekend.
All of that aside, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to next year. It’s obvious that Arizona has plenty of roster holes to fill in the offseason. According to Spotrac.com, general manager Steve Keim will have upwards of $79 million in salary-cap space to work with when the free agency period begins next March.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Cardinals need a significant amount of help on defense. Beleagured coordinator Vance Joseph is presiding over a contingent that is currently ranked 30th in the league. Arizona is getting manhandled on the defensive side of the ball, so fixing that problem should be the number-one priority of the team’s front office in 2020.
If improvements are going to be made, why not start with the group’s front wall. Players like Corey Peters, Rodney Gunter, Jonathan Bullard and Zach Allen have been solid but not spectacular. When looking at some of the names on next year’s free agent list, it’s difficult not to be intrigued by a few of the defensive linemen who’ll be available.
Defensive end Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs has tallied 113 tackles, 26 sacks, 31 tackles for loss and 59 quarterback hits in 53 career games (34 starts). Leonard Williams, a former sixth-overall pick of the New York Jets, has accumulated 233 tackles, 17 sacks, 32 tackles for loss and 89 quarterback hits in 69 NFL contests. Derek Wolfe of the Denver Broncos has racked up 288 tackles, 28 sacks, 42 tackles for loss and 69 quarterback hits in 103 professional matchups.
There are a couple of prospective free agent nose tackles who would also look good in a Cards uniform. Gerald McCoy, currently with the Carolina Panthers, has totaled 310 tackles, 57 sacks, 82 tackles for loss and 145 quarterback hits in 10 pro campaigns. Ndamukong Suh‘s eye-popping career numbers include 494 tackles, 56.5 sacks, 108 tackles for loss and 170 quarterback hits in 148 career appearances.
The 2020 offseason promises to be an interesting one for Arizona. Keim and company will have an incredible amount of cash at their disposal. Allocating a portion of those bucks to reinforce the defensive line would be a good way to get the spending underway.